Catching up

Whoa how time flies. It’s been forever since I’ve typed out an actual blog post.  So much has been going on. I listed in a previous post how busy things were. We’ve made it past the grand baby’s birthday and Thanksgiving. We even survived the cold weather at our successful neighborhood event. My weekly bible study is going smoothly and Freedom is being found in Jesus’ name!

God has moved mountains regarding helping me prepare for the Women’s Retreat coming up next year. I have been able to get my LLC updated to be currently active instead of waiting until the first of the year. I’ve started a weekly encouraging email list and my job ended which demands that I pray fervently for His provision but also allows me more time to do what I need to do. Since I’ve been laid off from work,  He has provided so many other opportunities this past week, to get things done.  I now have  a brand new website, plus an official Entrusted with the Truth banking account, a resale certificate and a business tax certificate. It was quite fun explaining to those that asked “what kind of business is this and what are you selling?” my response being a big smile and a shrug – ‘I’m not sure what God is up to yet but so far, Encouragement for all and Women’s retreat tickets is about the best response I can give’ it was baffling to some which was comical but to me it is exciting stuff and I look forward to continuing along this journey.

I don’t share any of this with you in hopes that you think, ‘wow, look at all she is doing’ I share it in hopes that if you’ve been traveling this path with me for any length of time, you will recognize that this is all of God’s doing. That it is ONLY by His grace and wisdom that any of this is happening.

Our church is getting ready to begin the fast that we do every year and I sat in awe the other day when it was announced as I was reminded again that this past year started with the fast for me.  It was during that time frame that I became even more serious about my relationship with Christ.  I actually found a few emails the other day between me and a friend while cleaning out my mailbox at work. It was just after the fast had ended and I felt God telling me to start writing down the needs we had. I’ll post it below so that maybe you can understand just a bit about how stunned I am on how this year has turned out.

**email dated January 25, 2017**

On my way out of the gym this morning (yay body pump!) I had two missed calls from my Pastor’s wife from church.  My first thought was, uh oh, what did I do lol, it was like being called into the principal’s office hehe.  But I listened to her voicemail and then called her back.

she wants me to speak at our annual women’s conference in March!?!

Like, get up in front of people and talk about my story and my love for Jesus. Like, IN FRONT OF A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE… <insert big gulp here>

She said she had been asking God for someone to do one of the sessions and when I showed up the other night at a prayer meeting (which I went to on a whim) she felt He was saying to ask me. She even said that she prayed about it and then took it to Pastor Jason (whom I absolutely love that man) and she didn’t tell him who she was thinking about, she said she told him she was trying to find someone and wondered if he could think of anyone and she said even he said “what about Susan”  which she took as confirmation from God.

Completely awed and blown away by what God is doing here…

I told her that as most responses from people in the bible… I want to say “I’m scared” “why me? I’m not qualified” “I’m not good enough” but on the other hand, I can’t help but feel that God wants to do something big in all of this.  I remember two years ago, I went to a leadership conference at the church and sat and cried my eyes out because I felt God was calling me to do something more and felt He spoke to me that day and said one day you will be up on this stage.  And now this opportunity comes along.

**2 email dated January 26, 2017**

Something I didn’t share yesterday is that just yesterday morning before I went to the gym, I was in my quiet time, being purposeful and writing down the different needs in my life. (one of them being a 4 bedroom house so we can have more space with the baby and help Chris’s mom out) because I had found myself the day before looking at houses for rent online and seeing the beautiful homes with gorgeous kitchens, (something I’ve always wanted) and feeling not good enough and not worthy of having such a nice place- so I committed to writing down all the things I wanted to see change in my life and was telling myself that I just needed to believe in what God wanted to do….. only then to get the phone call asking me about a conference called “She Who Believes”…. So  I sent my pastor’s wife an email this morning confirming that I would do it (we were going to confirm on Saturday when we met up and I heard more detail) but I told her what I shared with you about a few years ago and told her the above story and said I felt that God was already giving me confirmation before I even knew what was going to be asked of me and I didn’t need to know details, just that He was going to do this and not me- simply amazing when I put it into words like this!

************** end of emails **************

To read those words, to remember how I was feeling that day and to recall with absolute clarity that I had no other choice than to believe God had big plans for me, it completely floors me as I sit here in my 4 bedroom home, typing on a website that is God given to bring the gift He gave me into the world, while in the background planning my own women’s retreat next year to benefit my church and community while giving Glory to The One who made it all possible.

And the crazy thing is, He’s NOT DONE!

I pray that if you read through this long post, that you are encouraged. I am sure that you have experienced His goodness in many ways, maybe even something like the above. Just continue to remember, God has so much He wants to do for you and through you. Continue to get into His Word, trust what He says and take action on whatever next step He is calling you to take.  That is what I am striving to do every single day and I have never felt so sure of God’s presence and purpose in my life.

 

 

 

 

Taking another stand against fear

Oh my goodness what a morning. It started yesterday after not getting a lot of sleep the night before I was extremely tired and by the end of the day as I continue to think through this event and plan the next step I began to feel a cloud of doubt come over me. I was able to push it off with prayer but this morning on my way to work I was listening to my new favorite song by skillet called Lions and the lyrics just tore me up. All the what if’s came crashing down… what if nobody shows up… What if I sacrificed financially and it ends up hurting my family… what if I didn’t hear God as clearly as I thought I did… And the big one, what if i’m not who He says I am and therefore He won’t show up for me.

Ironically, I am set to speak at the retreat and my first subject is on fear. Go figure!

Today is ours, it’s always been

Before we face the fight

We know who’s gonna win

We live by faith and not by sight

We don’t want safe and quiet

We don’t wanna run and hide

Every time I heard those last two lines of that song this morning I cried my eyes out which isn’t necessarily a good thing considering I was driving 🙂

I am striving with all of my might to live by faith and not by sight and I have spent my whole life hiding and being safe and quiet and running and hiding and I don’t want that anymore! And I know that God is calling me out of that and into His glorious plan!

I was built up and edified by the fact that I know that my God has great plans for me. And I know that whatever He sets before me he WILL see it through. And I have no doubt that I am a child of His and He will never leave me alone or let me fall when I’m walking as best I can in His will.

I share all of that this morning to hopefully encourage you to not let fear take away the dream that God has planted in your heart. I move forward today knowing that my God is calling me out and He’s putting something before me that I would’ve never dreamed possible and all I have to do is step out and take the next step that He is asking me to take and whether 150 people show up at this retreat or five, He WILL be glorified and THAY is all that matters! That is what He’s asking me to do and that is what I will continue to put all of my effort into doing!

The most wonderful time of the year

Wow what an incredible, crazy, unbelievable, and any other adjective that I could think of to describe a wild and crazy ride, this past month of October has been.

I had heard before that once you get in line with God’s will and are seeking and striving to do everything you can to stay there that life can be very exciting and fulfilling and boy have I ever come to learn that that is true for me.

I have to apologize as there is so much going on as of late that it’s been very difficult to keep the blog updated and working on the podcast situation has just slipped right out of my mindset as I begin this new, very huge, only God can make it happen, task in front of me of creating the women’s retreat.

I know this is a very busy time of year for everyone so I’m sure each of you can understand where I’m coming from. Not even counting the holidays in front of us, my granddaughter turns one this month so we will be having that birthday party! My husband and I want to do something in our neighborhood for the holidays so in early December we will be doing HAMburgers and TURKEY hotdogs in our effort to try and do the holidays Florida style.

And once we get past Christmas my daughter turns 24 so there will be another birthday celebration and just a few weeks later my husband turns another year older so yet again another celebration 🙂 During all of this I’m cohosting a Bible study where God is doing some amazing work and to put the cherry on top-  going all in – as I follow God in this new adventure of hosting a women’s retreat. That in itself has been one surprise after another. I was not aware that as an individual I could not just go into the community and put together an event and sell tickets to it. Naïve of me I’m sure but I am learning interesting things each step that God takes me through.

Me and my good friend Christina who is helping co-lead this entire event received word from her church that they are willing to let us host the women’s retreat there which is such a humongous blessing. With that in mind I filed for and received my LLC certificate for Entrusted with the Truth. It will become an official business name on January 1, 2018.

Sometime over the next few weeks I will be filing the document with our tax office as well as obtaining a resale certificate because God has laid on my heart to offer T-shirts at the retreat which then leads me into creating my logo etc. As you can see I was not kidding when I said that the Lord has me on a very exciting journey!

I do not share all this to brag about where my life is, I share this with you in hopes to encourage you to continue to put God first, to continue to ask Him to reveal what His plan for your life is. Because I assure you at the beginning of January 2017 when I committed to Reading my Bible daily I would have never dreamed 11 months later that this would be happening.

I will keep everyone updated as more information comes about regarding the retreat we do know the date is set for March 3rd of 2018 but other than that it’s all in God’s hands LOL

Please stand with us in prayer as we ask God to show up in a mighty way and bring women from all over Jacksonville to come and draw closer to Him.

9 months

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months. I am amazed as I sit and reflect that since 9 months is the length of a pregnancy, God was taking the last 9 months to birth this dream inside of my heart.

I have longed to be used to change this world. I have always felt the pull to be an encouraging light for women. In my makeup days, I thought that was the whole plan but never did I dream that today I would be praying about, and planning a women’s retreat, with a sole purpose to strengthen and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. And I would have never thought it possible that in as short as 9 months, this purpose has become abundantly clear to me.

Back on January 25th when my pastor’s wife, Anne Cullum called me to ask me to speak at our Church’s Women’s Conference, I was floored and excited for the chance to tell my testimony. Praying that God would use it to encourage the women I stood in front of. I could have never dreamed on that day, God was continuing His plan to draw me further into public speaking. I most definitely would never have thought then, that 9 months later I would be praying and asking God to open doors to a women’s retreat where I am willing and excited to talk to women about the many struggles they have and how they can find continued strength in The Lord, our God.

I sit in complete awe today as I reflect back over the past several months and shake my head in disbelief. God has a future out in front of me that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around but I promise you this. If He has it for me, I am going to give everything I have, to make sure I don’t miss a moment of it. I pray that you will begin to see the future He has for you and surrender to His plan and fight the enemy with everything you’ve got until you’ve taken hold of it. C’mon, let’s go grab our abundance together!

All In

All In. That was the theme of the Matthew West concert on Sunday night. What is absolutely incredible is that I have felt I have been in the “All In” space for these past several months. But that feeling keeps getting bigger and bigger. God is definitely up to something!

In my last post, I shared how I feel God is calling me to do a podcast. I still believe this is something I am supposed to do. There are just a few things I need to work out on the techie side to make it happen, but I am looking forward to doing it. At the same time, He is calling me to start a new bible study as well as there is the pull on my heart to do another “day event”. At the concert, there was an incredible story that needs to be told on my webpage and blog so I’m praying for the time to put that together and now, just recently, He has taken the day event idea and whispered in my heart “Women’s Retreat”

There is so much that I feel He is calling for me to do. And I want to do it ALL! At the concert as Matthew poured his heart out about being All In for Jesus, my heart cried out in the same manner. Whatever you want Lord. I am Yours. I will do all that you ask of me, just show me what my next step is. I want the life You have for me, whatever that looks like. I won’t settle. I won’t give up fighting for what You want. I won’t cave to the pressure of life and miss what You died on the cross to give to me.

The more I think about it, the more I focus on the knowledge that I feel God moving, that I watch as life shifts around me, I actually start to tremble with excitement (and probably a little bit of fear) as I wait expectantly to see what comes next. I know it’s something. And it’s coming fast. My prayer is continually desperate. I want to be ready. I know God is making me ready for whatever He has coming. I’m just holding onto His Word and Promise and trusting Him with every fiber of my being. I ask each of you for prayer as I continue this journey and know, I will be praying for you as well. I know if God is doing all of this for me, He might be doing, and will do, if you ask, all of this for you too. My prayers go out to each and every one of you as we take the next step into our future of where Christ is calling us.

Thoughts

I love how God continues to nudge me in the direction He wants me to go. As you know, if you’ve read through my blogs and watched my video blogs, it has been a journey to step out in faith and actually do the video blog. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been asking God to show me what is next. I am no longer afraid of the video blogging so I can’t help but feel there is more that He purposed when He told me to begin this process. I am absolutely certain that I am not just to do a written blog. So many times, I am overwhelmed with the whisper of the Holy Spirit that I am supposed to share and expand on my experiences with this ministry in a different way, so I have given a lot of prayer and thought as to what that would look like and what I would need to do to take the next step. Over the past few weeks, as I’ve listened to biblical teachers and surrounded myself in The Word, I’ve asked God to reveal to me more of my gifts that He has given me and how He wants to use them. I am continually reminded that my written word is given a lot of positive feedback and that through the job I do, my phone voice is deemed soothing and calming. That led me to tossing around the idea of writing out my thoughts and what I was called to share and using the video blog to get it onto my website. In thinking through that process, I recognize that I’ve had my testimony recorded before and while it was still powerful, the image of me standing there, reading what I had written, was diminished slightly by the fact that I wasn’t able to truly connect with my audience on a face to face level. When I try to take my eyes off the paper for more than a few moments at a time, I go way out in left field and start speaking through my nerves. That is not a gift that has been developed in me yet (although I feel deep within it is something He is working on!) however, what was written, and my delivery while reading, has always been something I feel God has used to move in the hearts of those who hear it. Lately, I have wondered if learning how to set up a podcast, and using that as my medium for this ministry along with my blog posts, would be the direction that God wanted to lead me.

This morning, as I was moved to do another video blog, I had so much on my heart that I wanted to say. There is so much that God pours into me that I want to share, but yet, as this morning, I feel when I start talking without having written it down, the words that I want to say, and the way that I want to say them, doesn’t come off quite the same as while they are in my head.

This makes me take pause and give the consideration that God just may be giving me confirmation and green light on the podcast idea. I know there is a story to be told, lessons to be shared, and He will get it done in the most effective way. I am excited about what this means as I continue this journey of learning and growing.

Now, to just figure out how to do a podcast 😀 Prayers are appreciated and I look forward to sharing again with you soon.

You are who you hang around with

I was taught this principal many years ago in my makeup business and it has stuck with me throughout the years.  It is such a true statement. As I look back during the seasons of my life, and the people that I let into my circle of influence on each part of the journey, I can see this truth in action.

For many years, my life was filled with chaos and drama and coming to recognize that I chose to be around people who suffered with the same was a game changer for me.

It was a difficult pill to swallow, and being a people pleaser, a very hard situation to change. Many times it wasn’t by choice that people were removed from my life. God was going to have His way and if I didn’t remove the people that were not good for me He did. 

Today I strive to be very aware of who I surround myself with on a soul level. While I communicate with many, have friendships with several, I have to recognize that in order to get to where God wants me to go, I have to be persistent in making sure that I surround myself not only with good people, but to find those who are in a place where I want to be. Just like Timothy in the Bible, I need a Paul, or several Paul’s in my life.  If I want to be a strong, loving, faith filled, God seeking person who walks out my faith with audacity then it is imperative that I have those same types of people in my life, influencing me with their words and actions.

I think it is important to mention that we are surrounded by hurting people and everyone is walking their own journey. There was a time when I looked around at the people that I knew and there wasn’t anyone in a place that I wanted to be. They were all struggling just like me. Today, by the Grace of God that is not the case, but finding time in this busy world, to spend time with them, it’s not always easy. Even so, I am determined to put myself into as close of proximity as I can to people who are ALL IN for God.  When I look at my top list of people that today, speak into my life, I can’t help but feel a little silly as many of them are ones I have never met. But it works.  In hopes of this making sense, I’ll list out those that I am purposeful to spend time with on a daily or weekly basis.

First and foremost, is God. I hang out with him daily. Without this relationship, none of the others would matter. Jason Cullum, my Pastor, He is such a strong man of faith and walks his talk.  I have the pleasure of being with him at least twice a week and sometimes more often if I choose to listen to an online sermon. Pastor Jacobi Martin, whose realness and transparency blows me away. I’ve never met him but meet with him weekly as I listen to his sermon on podcast. Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore and Erwin McManus (who I’ve met once) have been pivotal in my walk with The Lord, their obedience to the Lord is what I long for so I listen to them daily through podcast.

The above mentioned people are speaking and acting upon their faith in a way that my heart cries out to do.

While I am extremely blessed with deeply committed friends who follow the Lord in much the same way,  and I get encouraged by them through text, phone call or a luncheon when we get the chance, I am adamant that just like going to church, I don’t want it to be a one time a week thing, and since my beloved friends are not available on a daily basis, then I recognize it is my responsibility to let God lead me to ways of getting what He wants me to have through His Word, My church and podcasts of others who are walking out their faith in the way that I want to walk out mine.

By choosing to hang around with all of these people on purpose, it fills my day with God’s word and fills me up to overflowing.  I pray that it spills out onto others and that they are encouraged to find a Paul, or several and watch how God will use them to change their life.